GSA 2020-2021 OFFICERS

Gregorio Ponti, President

Gregorio Ponti (he/him/his) is a fourth-year Physics PhD student working on novel superconducting materials. He received his Bachelor of Science at Michigan State University in 2015 and proceeded to take a year off in his home country in Rosario, Argentina. While at UT Austin, Gregorio has been an advocate for graduate students at the departmental level with 3 years as a grad student representative, and at the university level with two years as a representative in the GSA and as a member of the Graduate Education Task Force. His main focus is on graduate student labor conditions. When not dealing with school things, he enjoys playing soccer, cooking, and playing board games.

Karina Mendez Perez, Vice President

Karina Mendez Perez (She/her/hers) is a doctoral student in the STEM Education progra, and is from Austin, TX. She completed her Bachelor's of science in Neuroscience at Trinity University in San Antonio,TX.  Karina served as the primary representative her first year in the STEM Education program before becoming the vice president. She is currently in two committees: President Student Advisory Council and Vice President for Student Affairs Student Advisory Council. In her free time, Karina enjoys horror movie analyses, running, playing with her dog (Dragon) and cat (Lumi), and lip syncing to 80s songs.

Jacque DeAnda, Administrative Director

Jacqueline (“Jacque”) DeAnda (she/her/hers) is a fifth-year doctoral student in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences. Her broad research interests focus on family structure influences for families’ long-term social and economic outcomes.  Jacque received her Bachelor of Arts in Applied Psychology and Human Development from Boston College in 2014 and her Master of Arts in Human Development and Family Sciences from UT in 2018. Prior to her role as Administrative Director (which started in fall 2019), Jacque served the GSA as the Human Development and Family Sciences representative. Jacque is looking forward to working with graduate students to improve assembly meetings, as well as creating transparent pathways of communication for GSA members and non-members alike. Jacque serves on the Election Supervisory Board (ESB) Selection Committee, as well as the Graduate Student Mentoring Committee and Task Force for Developing Faculty Standards’ Mentoring Subcommittee. In her free time, Jacque enjoys practicing yoga, spending time with friends, and finding new restaurants to try in the Austin area.

Didi Gardner, Membership Director

Andrea (“Didi”) Gardner (she/her/they/them) is a PhD student researcher in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. Her research interest focus on the integration of single cell technologies with mathematical modeling to better understand the fundamental drivers of tumor heterogeneity. She received her B.S. in Bioengineering:Biotechnology from UCSD in 2013, and then worked with Weill Cornell Medicine and Cornell University to develop low-cost diagnostic kits for virally-driven cancers. Prior to her role as Membership & Outreach Director with the GSA, Didi served as the BME representative in 2018-2020. By serving as Membership & Outreach Director, she seeks to ensure diverse representation of voices within the GSA to broadly affect positive change in the UT graduate student community and beyond. Beyond these efforts, Didi enjoys science history, kickboxing, biking, and fantasy RPGs

Kathleen Holloway, Communications Director

Kate Holloway (she/her/hers) is a fourth-year doctoral student in Human Development and Family Sciences. Her research interests focus on the influence of racial discrimination on family functioning. Kate received her BS in HDFS at the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2017 (MIZ...) and her Master's in HDFS in 2019 here at UT. Prior to her role as Communications Director, Kate served as the Vice President in 2019-2020 and the HDFS representative in 2018-2019. In her free time Kate enjoys hiking with her dog Lola, spending time with friends, and working out. Kate is looking forward to working with graduate students to improve assembly meetings and creating an inclusive environment for representatives and guests. 

Adarsh Parthasarathy, Academic Affairs Director

Adarsh Parthasarathy (he/him/his) is a 1L at the School of Law. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Adarsh graduated from the University of California San Diego with a Bachelor's of Science in Political Science and a Bachelor's of Arts in History, where he did his senior thesis on political communication, social network analysis, and electoral theory in elections for the U.S. Senate. In undergrad, Adarsh served as the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs for UC San Diego's student government where he founded the Triton Transfer Hub and led a number of large-scale initiatives through the Academic Senate and university administration. As Academic Affairs Director, he now serves on the Student Library Committee and the Committee on Financial Aid to Students. In the 4 hours of the week Adarsh does not spend working, studying, sleeping, or eating, he likes to read because law school isn't punishing him enough. item about? What makes it interesting? Write a catchy description to grab your audience's attention...

Christina Baze, Internal Policy Director

Christina Baze (she/her/hers) is a doctoral student in STEM Education (expected graduation: 2022). Christina completed her Bachelor’s of Science Education - Biology (dual major; 2011) and her Master’s of Arts in Science Teaching (2017) at Northern Arizona University in her beautiful hometown of Flagstaff, AZ. She has taught in a variety of both informal and formal educational settings, from elementary to undergraduate students. At UT Austin, Christina has worked as a GRA, TA, and AI, and will be AI for a course Fall 2020 as well as a GRA through the STEM Center in the College of Education. Her participation in the GSA includes services as the primary representative from STEM Education for two years, including serving on the Student Libraries Committee before, becoming the GSA President in 2019-20. She is continuing for another year to see some initiatives to completion. Outside of academia, Christina lives in Manor, TX, with her husband, two daughters, three horses, chickens, dogs, cat, and ball python. She enjoys being with and riding her horses and reading science fiction/fantasy novels on the rare occasions she has the time.

Jingjing Fan, External Policy Director

Jingjing Fan is a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Statistics and Data Science. Her research broadly focuses on developing novel inference methods for large scale time series data. She received a Bachelor's of Science and a Bachelor's of Music from Arizona State University in 2016, and spent two years in industry before returning to school. Jingjing served as the primary representative for the Department of Statistics and Data Science for one year prior to taking the External Affairs role. Her main goals as External Affairs Director include increasing student awareness of local and federal legislation, and promoting student participation in advocacy. She is currently an active member of the Joint Resolutions Committee, as well as the primary voting representative for UT in the Student Advocates for Graduate Education (SAGE) organization. In her free time, she enjoys dancing and exploring the hiking trails around the city.

Ashley Bennett, Finance Director

Ashley Bennett (she/her/hers) is a third-year PhD student in Educational Psychology, focusing on human development, culture, and learning sciences. She previously completed her Bachelor's in Psychology (2017) at the University of Kansas. Her research is focused on gender issues in education. After graduation, Ashley plans to complete a post-doc and ultimately become a professor and mentor. This year as Financial Director, Ashley plans to focus on ensuring access to useful academic resources and support for graduate students. Ashley serves on the Research Policy Committee, the GSA Academic Committee, the Student Library Council, and the University Faculty Gender Equity Council. 

Mikael Rubin, Student Affairs Director

Mikael Rubin (he/him/his) is a fifth year doctoral student in clinical psychology. Mikael received his B.A. in Art History from McGill University in 2010 and an MA in Psychology from The City College of New York in 2015. His research focuses on attention and psychopathology. He is currently examining virtual reality and eye movements in the context of assessment and treatment for social anxiety disorder. He looks forward to enhancing awareness of and resources for graduate student wellness. In his free time, he enjoys making pottery, cooking, and reading. Mikael serves on the Counseling and Mental Health Center Student Advisory Committee.

Hadiza Mohammed, Diversity & Engagement

Hadiza Mohammed (she/her/hers) is a third-year doctoral student in Educational Leadership and Policy. Her research interests focus on the intersection of identity, choice, and policy. Hadiza received her B.A. in History at Brown University and a Master of Arts Program in the Social Sciences from The University of Chicago. Her prior service activities at UT include acting as the Academic Chair of the Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA) and she is currently finishing out her term as the Vice President of the BGSA. Also, she is a member of the editorial board of the Texas Education Review. In her free time, Hadiza enjoys hiking, running, and catching up with friends. Hadiza is looking forward to working with graduate students across campus to improve the diversity of the GSA as well as making the organization more accessible to all graduate students. 

Benedicta Anikputa, Health Agency Director

Benedicta Anikputa (she/her/hers) is a second-year doctoral student in the School of Nursing. Her research interest focus on the pediatric transitional healthcare experience of adolescents and young adults with chronic illnesses. Benedicta received her Bachelor of Science in Human Biology-Public Health (dual major; 2012) from the University of Texas at Austin and her Masters of Public Health (2015) from The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health. She worked in the field of public health at the state level for two years in the TB/HIV/STD section focused mainly on Tuberculosis surveillance and reporting before pursuing her doctoral studies. By serving as health agency director she hopes to provide graduate students with necessary tools and information needed to be healthy and well-rounded during their studies and beyond. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, exploring the great outdoors, and experiencing the joys of life.

Sarah Heise, Voting Graduate Student Agency Director

Sarah (she/her/hers) is a graduate student in the Department of Government. Her research is on American voting behavior and public opinion broadly, and cross-pressured voters and partisan defection specifically. Sarah received her Bachelor of Arts from Tulane University in 2018. She is also a data analyst for the Texas Politics Project, which fields multiple statewide public opinion polls each year. She is also a co-organizer of Women in Political Science, which works to address the problems that women face in political science and academia more broadly. She looks forward to increasing registration and turnout among graduate students.

Taylor Foody, Entrepreneurship & Innovation Agency Director

Taylor (she/her/hers) is a graduate student at the LBJ School of Public Affairs studying Global Policy. She is interested in connecting individuals to new ideas, networks, and resources for increased social impact. She's currently exploring how cross-sector collaborations can help to improve institutional accountability, service delivery, and economic and human prosperity. She previously completed her Bachelor of Arts in Government from The University of Texas at Austin in 2015 and has worked at The University since 2016. Taylor is currently a Graduate Research Assistant for the Dell Medical School and Ray Marshall Center for Human Resources.

Britta Hanson, Queer Graduate Student Alliance (QGSA)

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